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My First Time

Aerospace celebrities talk about the flights that changed their lives.

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SCOTT CROSSFIELD

Test pilot, X-1, X-15, and other legendary aircraft

It was 1927, and the pilot was Carl Lienesch. He worked for my father at the Union Oil Company. Lienesch, he flew around to the various oil fields in use. Used Alexander Eaglerocks and Travel Airs. And my first flight was in an Eaglerock, and Lienesch took me for a ride out of Monrovia, California. That was before Lindbergh flew the Atlantic. 

I was in the front seat and I enjoyed it. But I fell asleep. I was only six or seven years old.

REEVE LINDBERGH

Author; daughter of Charles Lindbergh

All I can remember is a flight with my father when we had a forced landing. I think I was maybe seven. It was out of Danbury [Connecticut], and what he rented—I know this was true because I asked [Lindbergh biographer] Scott Berg—was an Aeronca with a tandem cockpit. He didn’t own a plane. He would take us up and my brother and sister would take off and land; all I could do was pull back on the stick. He would shout stuff like “Lean in the curve,” and he had all these phrases like “An airplane is like a bobsled.”

The choke malfunctioned and I was quite excited. I asked, “Are we going to crash?” He said, “No, but put your head down between you knees.” I found it quite boring because I couldn’t see much.

We landed in a cow pasture. There were no cows but lots of rocks. They had to take the plane apart to get it out.

GEN. JOHN R. DAILEY

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